32 weeks pregnant with twins

It suddenly occurred to me as I clicked in the numbers to this post’s title that I am entering into the last month of this twin pregnancy–the last month my body will ever carry babies again, ever.

No, really.

I’m serious this time.

Seriously this is it.

I’m done.

For real.

(Actual words from my doctor: “Now, you think about this for a while, but I will have your tubes in my hands during the surgery, and–“

ME: “Take them out.”

HER- “Well, but–“

ME: “Take it all out.”

HER: “You have some time before–“

ME: “SET IT ALL ON FIRE AND ROLL IT DOWN A HILL.”)

There are so many side effects of a twin pregnancy that are shocking me, for some reason. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, physically. At 32 weeks, the biggest challenge is simply breathing–I have two giant melons jammed into my rib cage (instead of the usual singular baby booty). Heart palpitations have been debilitating at times, but at least those aren’t constant. Sleeping is a distant memory, but that’s not new. Walking is kept to a minimum since it seems to bring on Braxton Hicks contractions of a ferocious nature. As far as my hormones go…

They’re fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

Cravings are a thing but with gestational diabetes, I have to do my best to resist them.

With a c-section scheduled for December and a new son and a new daughter to welcome into our home, the next several weeks are going to fly by faster than I anticipated and I’m feeling bittersweet, relieved, excited, scared, and also hungry for beignets. Life as a wife and parent of older kids + younger kids has taken a turn for the incredibly insane; I have so much to do to prepare for this life change that I don’t really want to do any of it.

Preregistration at the hospital? Is that really necessary? I go there so often I should have my own parking spot at this point. Transition Lucy to her upstairs attic room? Um, have you seen me try to make it up the stairs period even just for a shower every three days? Much less try to carry a fifty pound toddler in my arms and wrestle her to bed? And…

I cannot think of it.

So, babies, we have a month-ish until we meet face to face. I’m not sleeping, I’m miserably uncomfortable, I’m stressed to the max over all the non-stress tests and BPPs and checkups that I’ll be having weekly until mid-December…

But I love you both so much already, and this is all beyond worth it.

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The worries and the technical stoff of a high risk twin pregnancy

I can’t think straight here lately, just a heads up. I’ve got a zillion posts half-written in the back of my brain completely unrelated to twin pregnancies, and at least a million of them involve my feelings about The Rick Grimes dying a slow, painful, lonely death on a cement block. Only Rick even comes close to rivaling Carol’s bad-assery and this is how it ends for him? The man who ripped a dude’s windpipe straight outta his neck with his bare teeth dies y’all, cause he fell off a horse at the wrong time. I cannot handle this.

Mostly though, I’m mentally bogged down with thoughts of giant babies twisting and thumping away in my belly (and also breaking my bones and ripping my spinal cord out of place).

I’ve lost four pounds in one week, because totin’ twins is hard and heavy work. It hurts to stand, hurts to sit, hurts to lay down. Braxton Hicks contractions are out of control, much like the Charlie-horses. Breathing is almost impossible. (If you see me in public and you ask me how I’m doing, know that I love you and appreciate the thoughtful concern of your question; but no matter what I tell you, I’d rather be at home, surrounded by a million pillows, crying myself to sleep in a Tylenol-induced stupor.)

Doctors be trippin’. I’ll see my OB more in the coming weeks than I have my entire pregnancy. I’ve been scheduled out for weekly checkups and biophysical profiles done by ultrasound from now until December 13th. The schedule of appointments is stressing me out in ways that I never imagined; I just want to sit at home on my recliner in my fancy striped compression socks for the next month without all these tests, is that so much to ask? Apparently when you’re geriatric (38) and diabetic, with two babies instead of one, it is.

The twins are now both breech and both growing like crazy. My high risk doc, who I see once a month, estimated the boy to be 3 lbs 9 oz; the girl, 3 lbs 4 oz. It baffles me that only seven pounds of babies is causing this much physical havoc, but I’m always reminded that I’m also carrying double the fluid, and double all the other gunk that goes along with growing humans. Plus I don’t know how much to trust those numbers since with every other child I’ve ever run through that particular clinic has been born well over their estimated birth weights; then again, everything about having twins has been different than anything I’ve previously dealt with.

I don’t actually like the high risk clinic (cold, scary), but I do wholeheartedly love and trust my regular OB–I’ve always had the most positive experiences with her and this pregnancy has shown me, month after month, there’s no doctor I’d rather have care for me, no one I’d rather deliver my babies. Women’s Health Care of Norman, you guys: there’s not a better practice in Central Oklahoma if you’re in the market to birth a baby. Sure it’s a hike for me, but I’d crawl across Grady County over broken glass to be seen by my cool-ass lucky doctor with the blue and brown eyes.

Sometimes I am dramatic.


31 weeks and dead

31 weeks. The side effects from steroid shots I had last Monday and Tuesday have officially worn off.

I made the decision that I will simply not stand for the rest of this pregnancy.

Like I literally will not physically stand up on my legs until mid December, maybe longer. I don’t know. We’ll just play it by ear.

Pickle juice helps with leg cramps and headaches.

Compression socks give me leg cramps and headaches.

So it works out I guess.

We had family in town this past weekend which was wonderful, except that I didn’t even get to show them our shower drain which I so furiously cleaned in a fit of roid rage.

I walked myself into false labor at the pumpkin patch yesterday, but at least I got to see Arbor fake-milk a fake-cow:

Her enthusiastic squeegeeing of this fake cow’s fake teats got me researching the intricacies and difficulties of owning a real live milk cow, cause this child would be the cutest little milkmaid I’ve ever seen.

(Note: I’ve never seen an actual milkmaid except on the front of a Swiss Miss box.)

I see my doctor again tomorrow because apparently I make her nervous with my gigantic tummy full of twins who are pressing all the wrong buttons trying to bust outta here well before their time. My blood pressure is excellent and my blood sugar is fairly decent, so even though I’m going on my sixth and seventh deliveries, I’m confident that these guys will stay put until at least December. Children of mine are historically known to jack with me just enough to be a little scary; but they always manage to hang in there and make me physically miserable until the very last second.

Life is good. Nauseating and exhausting, but good.


how they forgive

It’s October 2018, and high school teenagerdom is upon us.

Sometimes I forget that Mia is not actually seven years old, you guys. And of course it always shocks me when boys show an interest in her…and she shows it back.

She’s decidedly unready for all that the high school dating scene involves–the “rules” and expectations (mostly from everybody not in the actual relationship) have proven to be too much pressure for her, and she (thankfully) recognizes that, to be part of an official couple, she would potentially have to give up a good bit of her fun-loving, bubbly, social self–waters she’s admitted she’s unprepared to tread right at this second. #selfawareness: I love it.

That said, there’s one particularly precious kid who I’d legally betrothe Mia to in a heartbeat, if betrothing daughters was still a thing people did. (Does anyone have information on that?)

I hope all my girls grow up knowing what a healthy relationship looks like; I hope my own marriage is an example to Mia as she searches (or doesn’t; it’s whatever) for a godly husband in the future. But in case my model doesn’t measure up (not unlikely), here’s two extremes to ponder:

Solomon the King:

MEH. Let the record show that Toni’s never been incredibly impressed with this yahoo. Yeah sure, he was a young king who asked only for wisdom, and that was supes noble and all; God blessed him in wisdom and riches. If Beyoncé and Oded Fehr had a love child and Bill Gates adopted it, you’d have had Solomon: wise, handsome, famous, wealthy, loved, and respected. His temple was ridonk, and his legendary reputation as a legendary ladies man was surely the stoff of legends. The entire kingdom celebrated his first marriage to his first wife like he was frickin’ George Clooney.

Solomon started out well (That whole questionable threatening-to-cut-a-baby-in-half-thing not withstanding) but he did not finish strong. He let the people of Israel get into all kinds of voodoo shenanigans–and as for his husbanding? Well, for someone who supposedly delighted in the love of his life, wrote her all this awesome poetry…

…He really choked. Here’s how I picture it went down: “Hey—know what would be even cooler than one wife? If I married every female in a hundred mile radius and got me some concubines.” 1000 wives? That’s like 700 more wives than anyone needs. And nothing says “ya busted” quite like dumping the bride of your youth for 1000 other women. (Sex with a different woman every night for over three years anyone? That’s a whole lot of estrogen, y’all. No wonder he let the entire kingdom go to pot and started writing all this “Nothing is new under the sun” in Ecclesiasticus.) YOU HAD ONE JOB, SOLOMON.

Hosea, da real MVP:

Now here’s a picture of husbandly devotion and obedience to God if I’ve ever seen one.

“What’s that Lord?

“Marry a promiscuous gurl with a name like Gomer? Check.

“Wife runs away three times, out wildin’ and being a total hooker and you want me to buy her back every dang time? Check, check, and check.

“Raise all her illegitimate children as my own? Got it, doin’ it, done.”

Hosea was faith and love and mercy to the max, all rolled up into a lil ball of fun prophecy.

Wanna talk about radical obedience to God? Read Hosea. Wanna talk about how we’re supposed to forgive? Read Hosea.

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.

Hosea 6:6

My girls.

I hope and pray for all of you that the meaningfulness of any relationship isn’t lost on you–friends, acquaintances, brothers, sisters, leaders–God connects us and weaves our paths together for reasons usually unknown to us. But if you are a Christian, be a light.

This world is full of people who harm other people in the worst ways, and get away with it. White, black, rich, poor, fat, thin, educated, ignorant, rude, kind, legal, illegal–it’s sadly common to experience pain at the hands of another person at one point in time or another.

Make sure you are not one to dish out this pain. You are held to a higher law, a higher standard; do no harm as far as you can help it–and even farther than that, with God’s strength.

Shine light.

Show love to the unlovable.

Give hope to the hopeless.

Hate no one.

And, kids, my sweeties, my hearts: FORGIVE.

Marriages are hard.

Even though your dad and I are happy and blessed by God, my heart is breaking for our family members who are being ripped and shredded by the lack of love and forgiveness in their own marriages. My heart breaks for the horrible way I treated my first husband and for the bitterness I held onto for so many years following our divorce. I regret few things in life but meanness and hatefulness are things I wish I could take back.

Love, above all things; love.

Choose carefully. How does your future spouse love? Does he only seem to spend time with people who can benefit him in some way? Does she look down on inexpensive gifts and little gestures of kindness? Who does he hold grudges against, and why?

How does he forgive people who have hurt him? Flippantly, then lording offenses over someone for a undesignated amount of time? Or later calling in favors? Or does she withhold forgiveness completely, or at least until she feels a just punishment has been dealt?

How closely does he follow God? With casual words and semi-regular weekly attendance at a church he remains largely uninvolved in? Is he committed to the people in his church and in his community? Does he read and learn from daily prayer and bible study?

(Do you?)

Would he consider doing things for the Lord that make zero sense to his friends or his family?

How do we love? How do we forgive? How do we obey?

These answers are everything when it comes to the kind of spouse we will be; and the kind of spouse we need to look for; the kind of team we will be together for the building of the kingdom.

The people who love and forgive and obey? Learn from them. And hold onto them.


30 weeks and a Top 5 Baby Product list

I’ve officially hit the wall.

Maybe it’s not the wall; maybe it’s just a wall. But it’s made of iron-coated lead bricks, and I’ve just smashed into it full speed.

They say 30 weeks in with twins feels like full term with one singular baby–and they would be right. I got the diabetes, the hormones, the indigestion, the Braxton Hicks, the Charlie horses, the stretch marks, the back pain, and the stuff nobody (including me) wants to talk about–ALL OF IT.

I’m nowhere near ready to start chugging castor oil, but I do occasionally (daily) cry in the bath, partly because it doesn’t relieve pain like I keep thinking it will; partly because I can’t get out of the tub by myself.

30 weeks is all about compression socks and pickle juice. I’ve already kicked off my own version of “No-shave November” out of necessity. Ah, pregnancy. It’s a magical freaking time.

Today I went in for a routine appointment which ended with me in a hospital room getting a steroid shot in ma butt. Thankfully no overnight stay was required, but I will get another shot tomorrow so my babies’ll have a boost in lung development, should anything labor-like go down sooner than we’re hoping for.

Obviously I want those twins to stay in my body until their appointed time (December 13th: seven weeks, two days, eight hours, and thirty minutes) but on the bright side, I’m logistically prepared for them on the home front. Their nursery is a go; every tiny onesie is folded and put away neatly, drawers of blankets and clothing all organized for the ultimate experience in parental convenience. We have the most important things that, in my head, one could ever need for a baby–a top five, if you will:

1) Rock’n’Play: We have two–one from a friend and one I found on sale. These were life savers with Arbor and Lucy–babies are semi-upright, snuggly and secure, and you can vibrate ’em and rock ’em off to sleep. Cradles for all the babies.

2. Twin-zee Pillow:

I normally don’t use anything when I breastfeed one lil’ ole baby, but with two at a time? I thought I might be able to use some help. And since a boppy was always nice to have with one baby, I thought I’d spring for the double version. If anything, my babies can sit and chill on the floor while I fold clothes or stare off into space.

3. Noise maker/soft night light:

This is so essential when it comes to keeping babies asleep in a loud dang household like ours, especially when the baby room is straight off the family room/kitchen where big kids be blasting “Thor” or where Arbor decides to blow on a recorder she found tucked far under the couch.

4. Snot-sucker:

It’s as disgusting as it sounds but it is worth every penny when your baby has a massive cold because so-and-so dropped her kid off in the church nursery with green snot dripping outta his nose from “allergies”. You simply put the red thingy in your mouth and the blue thingy in the baby’s nostril and you just…suck snot right up…yeah this a super gross contraption but you know what? You get desperate sometimes, and this thing works for real.

5. A double car seat caddy:

For a single baby I’d go with a travel system that can later on convert to a regular, usable stroller with an actual seat for older babies; but for twins, my biggest worry was carrying two car seats to every appointment or errand or outing, and this bad boy came highly recommend by every twin mom in the whole wide world. (We’ll purchase a separate double stroller later on when they’ve learned to sit up; maybe even a triple stroller since Lucy will still be of an age where she’d rather ride than walk.)

And there you have it–thirty whole weeks and ready to rock.


Week 29 (and a half)

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming by stating the obvious:

Everything does hurt and I am dying.

I am experiencing third trimester symptoms of an unspeakable nature. Things have taken a turn for the horrible. I’ve got a fancy set of compression socks plus an industrial-grade maternity belt sitting in my Amazon shopping cart because I’ve just accepted where I am in my life right now.

Backache combined with a complete inability to move without needing an oxygen tank got me like:

Except I’m too tired to shower.

Sunday night I was jolted awake by the mother of all Charlie-horses; I’ve never felt so much pain, and I’m pretty sure I gave Caleb a mini heart attack with my man screams. This morning I got one that wouldn’t quit no matter how much I flexed my foot (once I could reach it). My entire leg kept seizing up on me as I hobbled to the bathroom to pee for the 6,000 time.

And yes, I cried.

Digestion is annoying:

I’ve been able to regulate my blood sugar by diet alone, and I’ve only had to give up my breakfast bagels. Plus I eat more food more often–which is harder to do than it sounds.

Diabetes, I don’t sweat you.

In other news, life around our house has been fairly news-less. Boring even. Caleb’s been out of town and I’ve held down the fort with Jesus, and cereal for dinner.

We’ve been family-movie-night-ing it up this week with the DVD box set of all the Rocky movies, and the real question is: Why aren’t I naming my next son Clubber Lang?

The babies’ room is sooooo close to being all finished. I’ve washed, dried, folded, organized, and put away every tiny article of clothing into one of two dressers which a friend so graciously bestowed upon our family last weekend. I may or may not find the energy to work on a painting I’ve had in mind for these little ones–my plan is to work the mantra “Stronger Together” into some bright, bold, colorful shapes. We’ll see how it goes. I’m trying to decide if I want to make a mobile or just order one; the picky, miserly part of me is winning out and it looks like my creative streak will not be allowed to stop with a simple painting.

Well that’s really it. Bout to brace myself for another fun filled day of carrying a forty pound weight directly on my crotch, leg cramps, and the consequential nausea from, ya know, pain.


Too much

Well I stirred the pot yesterday with the topic of adoption (How is this even taboo? I still don’t get it) so today, cause I live my life one-quarter mile at a time, I think I’ll hit on super super fun fun large families.

And by large, I mean folks who intentionally or unintentionally have four or more children, because NO, PATRICIA, 3 kids is not even close to “a lot of kids”.

Let me begin by admitting this: I’ve actually only known one woman who had more than four kids. Heather was new-ish to our church. She was tall and strong and gentle and patient and super-pregnant, and she scared the ever-loving snot out of me. Not because she was scary (She was–is–lovely), but because she struck me as a mother flippin’ force of nature; so powerful, even in her moments of vulnerability during a bible study, or in the exhausted expression she sometimes wore–I sensed a calmness and a joy in her, as she mothered those 5 young kids like a boss, that I simply could not understand as I struggled to be peaceful with my tiny brood of three. I would watch her on Wednesday nights, in awe of how together and un-rattled she always seemed, and I would later make the comment to Caleb (more than once) “That will never be me; I’m not made for six. I can barely handle three.”

(I may or may not have also held onto a private superstition/unfounded fear that Heather’s six-kids-ed-ness would some how rub off on me somehow.) (AND IT DID!!!)

This mindset I clung to must have had God ROTFLing, because five years later here I am with numbers 6 & 7 on the way. I try to hold myself up like Heather and I set my jaw and get all determined in the eyebrows as my kids run circles around me; I can’t channel that sort of parenting-chi, and, truth be told, I’m still scared fresh ta death over the thought of being the mom with seven kids.

Seven. People talk. I understand. I get it. Four kids is a lot, especially knowing me and how frenzied and overwhelmed I so easily get. Iron-willed Arbor just about killed me; going for number five after that seemed crazy to everyone not in my immediate family. Well, it was also crazy to my immediate family and also to me, but, hey.

People talk about twins. Mia’s teacher informed her that twins rarely just “happen” and that I must have been on fertility medication. “No, no medication,” was Mia’s reply. “Well,” said the teacher, “That you know of.”

Seven kids is insane. It didn’t used to be, back in 1885, but now, it’s unheard of, and weird.

  1. No, I’m not trying to be the Duggars.
  2. No, I’m not uneducated or untraveled.
  1. Yes, I know what causes that.
  1. No, I haven’t had procedures or medicine.
  1. Yes, apparently I am quite fertile.

My body is not my own, and every few years or so, it be straight trippin’. Sometimes I have to stop and take stock and reflect on how I got here.

Here’s the breakdown of two decades’ worth of childbearing:

  • 1996: Had my first baby out of wedlock at the tender age of 15 (almost 16). Teenage Toni was not a planner (or even a thinker) in the mid-nineties; this pregnancy was a certified life-ending disaster to my sophomore-self…but Adult Toni couldn’t imagine a day without her spunky Cheyenne.
  • 2004: Talented Drunk College Toni gets knocked up on the pill (out of wedlock) (again). This pregnancy is glorious and I work full time and student full time and I walk everywhere and gain 60 pounds before giving birth to my sweet Mia.
  • 2008: Caleb and I wish and hope and pray for our next child starting five minutes after Mia’s birth; with nary a birth control pill in sight, Drunk Sad Toni fails at conceiving a child for three entire years before God sends us Merrick, who rocks our world by being born with a skull deformity that requires major surgery at only four months old.
  • 2014: The next six years are riddled with indecision and miscarriages as we try to navigate our way through adding to our family. Our hearts are full except for a little tug that tells us we’re not quite done yet; Cheyenne goes off to college and Arbor gets here after nine months of the worst freakin’ bleedy bedridden diabetic pregnancy known to man. She kicks my ass for the next…um…well…
  • 2017: We fill out paperwork to foster/adopt. We put said paperwork aside until after the back-to-school/softball season, and take certain measures not to get ourselves pregnant before we make any final decisions. Caleb makes a joke in front of company and Little Lucy arrives in June.
  • 2018: Lucy is so frickin’ presh, and Caleb would like to try one more time for a boy. I am up for it as long as we stick to a time frame, say…2 months? Plus I have just barely stopped breastfeeding and my hormones are jacked so pregnancy is probably not in the cards. I continue running and I plan for a half-marathon in November. Caleb makes a joke at our first ultrasound and we will be bringing home two more babies before Christmas.

I list these pregnancies individually because with each child, God has given me something beautiful and unexpected–even through my lost ones. I’ve tried to plan and I’ve failed; I’ve tried to prevent and I’ve failed. Each little soul I’ve been tasked with raising has been so extremely marvelous and unique that no matter the circumstances behind their conceptions, they were gifts, plain and simple, every single one. Not all of my children were meticulously planned, but I hope they have all felt cherished.

The world has great use for my blond spitfires, my brown-eyed sweethearts, and the strong son growing up smack dab in the middle of all of it. As for how I plan to handle this giant gaggle of kids? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, including living and thriving in a state of permanent frazzlement.


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